Great Piano Recordings?

What Great piano recordings do you know of? I understand that the piano is one of the most difficult instruments to record and reproduce well, which is I guess is why I have a hard time finding many great recordings… Even many of the ultra hd ones I find on Amazon Music are only so so, and some are even unlistenable. So far, this is one of favorites, even though it’s only CD quality. If anyone has a lead, I’m all ears…

1 Like

Bach - WTC - Samuel Feinberg - Russian Compact Disc - Talents of Russia
Haydn - Piano Sonatas - Brendel/Philips, Richter/Decca
Mozart - Piano Concertos - Serkin, Casadesus or Haskil
Schubert - Piano Sonatas - Richter (various labels)
Schubert - Impromptus - Pires - DG
Beethoven - Piano Concertos - Serkin/Kubelik - Orfeo
Beethoven - 32 Piano Sonatas - Annie Fischer/Hungaroton or Gulda (Amadeo/Brilliant)
Chopin - Nocturnes - Arrau - Philips
Chopin - Preludes - Sokolov/Naive or Moravec (Supraphon)
Chopin - Ballades - Tipo/live/Ermitage or Moravec/Supraphon
Brahms - Late solo works - Gould/Sony, Lupu/Decca or Angelich/Virgin
Brahms - Piano Concertos - Barenboim/Barbirolli - EMI
Rachmaninoff - PC 1 - Janis/Kondrashin - Mercury
Rachmaninoff - PC 2 - Richter/Wislocki - DG (original mastering, paired with Prokofiev PC 5)
Rachmaninoff - PC 3 - Janis/Dorati - Mercury
Rachmaninoff - PC 4 - Wild/Horenstein - Chesky
Rachmaninoff - Paganini Rhapsody - Rudy/Jansons - EMI
Rachmaninoff - Preludes - Ashkenazy - Decca
Scriabin - Sonatas - Ashkenazy - Decca
Debussy - Preludes - Michelangeli/DG or Arrau/Philips
Satie - Piano Works - Thibaudet/Decca
Poulenc - Piano Works - Tacchino/EMI
Faure - Piano Music - Collard - Brilliant

Josef Hofmann - The Complete Josef Hofmann Vol. 6, The Casimir Recital - Marston Records
Moritz Rosenthal - The Complete Recordings - APR
Cortot - The Anniversary Edition Box - EMI
Moiseiwitsch - Volumes 1-13 in Naxos Historical’s Great Pianist series

Richter - Rachmaninoff Preludes and Etudes - Olympia/Regis
Natan Brand - Schumann and Chopin - Studio Recordings on BNL


Awesome Thanks! This should keep me occupied for awhile…

1 Like

For me it’s musical quality before sound quality, this is a favorite that I think sounds pretty good as well:

Simon Nabotov, solo piano “Spinning Songs of Herbie Nichols”

And I am NOT a Billy Joel fan, but I do like this music and the sound is excellent.

Billy Joel, composer, Richard Joo, pianist. “Fantasies and Delusions”

1 Like

You said piano, right?
Well: “Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack”


I fully agree with Lonson. It is performance before sound for me too. My list is based on my favorite performances, though many sound great too.


I bought tt one - it’s excellent.

One of the best in my collection is, unfortunately, out of print, and what’s worse, it’s short! Jackson Berkey’s “Sunken Cathedral” on American Gramaphone. This image is the LP cover, but mine’s on CD and looks slightly different.

I have others that I can recommend, but I can’t remember them specifically right now, when I’m away from my listening room. But since you’ve started this thread, I’ll try to remember to post about them as I come back across them in my listening.

Can we extend to keyboards:

Bach WTC - Kenneth Gilbert
Bach partitas - Schiff
Bach English Suites - Pogorelich
Scarlatti Sonatas - Horowitz
Beethoven sonatas - Levitt
Chopin Ballades - Perahia
Mozart sonatas - Uchida


Definitely get how difficult it is to record and play back piano. I love to listen though and use solo piano to test a system as well. It’s interesting that in many recordings, you can hear the mechanical action of the piano as well as the string. Not sure if this is intentional or not. It can add to a song but can also detract.

I’m not a classical buff but the older Windham Hill recordings (I.e. George Winston) I enjoy a lot and they sound great. As well as modern day Michele Mclaughlin.


Gould performance without Gould’s grunts and articulatings…


I’m a Horowitz fan generally, especially for live recordings. Just bought the heavy vinyl of this one and it was worth it compared to the CD although this was a digital recording.

That’s not a perfect sound but a perfect music recommendation, anyway very nice sound.


The gauntlet has been thrown down. Will Octave Records accept the challenge? :thinking: We can only hope.

Apparently they already have.

1 Like

Screen Shot 2021-08-16 at 5.54.14 PM
I have been listening to this recording for piano when testing out my system.

And, as that was their first release, we didn’t even have to wait long!

Probably my favorite piano music and performances of all time.

I was so happy when this version came out in hi-res. It is quite good. Not perfect but better than the older version of these recordings.


The recording quality of this old DG release is servicable, certainly better than some. But I’ve not found consistently better performances of Chopin Polonaises than these from Pollini.

1 Like